The World According to Thor, alongside The World According to Iron Man, is the latest release in the Insight Legends series, a collection featuring books that take an in-depth look at iconic characters from the worlds of comics, movies, television, and video games. Written by Marc Sumerak (Avengers, Spider-Man, FF, X-Men) and illustrated by Freddie E. Williams II (Robin, The Flash, Green Arrow, Legendary Star Lord), The World According to Thor is a guided tour of the nine realms by the god of thunder himself. Packed with detailed illustrations and an entertaining, informative, and often humorous story, this hardcover book, a copy of which was provided to me by the publisher, is perfect for fans of Asgard’s greatest warrior.
From the opening line of “Most mortals are aware of my exploits as an Avenger…” it is clear that Thor is talking directly to those of us who are primarily familiar with his story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Although I am fairly knowledgeable about Norse mythology, and we are both huge fans of the MCU, neither my son nor I were well-versed in the particular lore from the comics, and we found this book both informative and highly entertaining. Thor takes readers on a journey through his life, from his banishment to Midgard (Earth) where he became a doctor with no memory of his former self, to the origin of his famous hammer Mjolnir (with a humorous example of why a magical hammer is great for battling frost giants, but is pretty useless assembling IKEA bookshelves), to details about his uniquely powerful family. We also visit all of the nine realms and learn a brief history of each, as well as meet both the ferocious animals of Asgard and the considerably more frightening women who have stepped in and out of Thor’s life. Everyone’s favorite mischievous little brother even makes an appearance, interrupting the story with his true version of events and not-so-subtle jabs at his big brother. While The World According to Thor is obviously written with a younger reader in mind, the wit and humor of Sumerak combined with the gorgeous, and often hilarious, illustrations of Williams, make this a book that can be enjoyed by Marvel fans of any age.
As much as I enjoyed the story and artwork, I was less than enthusiastic about the book’s construction. The quality of the printing and the paper was superb; with heavy stock, glossy pages and numerous interactive inserts, this is a book that is obviously meant to be a collectible piece of art. Therefore, I found myself frustrated at the publisher for choosing a binding that hides so much of the art in the gutter, as well as choosing to use an adhesive on the inserts that damages the pages when removed. While I freely admit I may have been trying to remove items that were not meant to be removed, the difference between “inserts” and “removable items” was not very clear. In future releases, I would like to see some kind of indicator of which items are meant to be removed so that the pages are not damaged.
Overall, however, this was a great little book. I’m not sure what’s on the agenda next for Insight, but I’d love to see this author and illustrator take on The World According to Hulk.